The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


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What’s Blooming: The Last Nasturtium

I have to thank Carol of Maydreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month, who inspires me to walk about my garden in all kinds of weather and take in its beauty. Oftentimes this year, I have taken the garden for granted and not fully appreciated my paradise. Today it is drizzling rain but I walked about and relished the delicious Autumn palette which I will also share with Pam at Digging in Foliage Followup. Just a warning, this beholder found A LOT of beauty to admire …

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It is warm today, so warm that the door is open to our back screen porch – but by the end of this week we will have a real sliding glass door! The warmth is strange with so many of my blooms already to seed and the torch of Autumn aflame. It just doesn’t feel right, but I will enjoy it all the same. We dined al fresco last evening – you have to take advantage!

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I will say it again, I love my Cardinal Dogwood! I love it in the Spring when it’s adorned with white flowers. I love it in the summer when the birds forage its white berries. I love it in the Autumn when its leaves begin to yellow golden almost orange, and its stems begin to turn red. I love it in the Winter when its stems are on fire against the Blue Spruce. (As I write this, a White Throated Sparrow is enjoying some of the last remaining berries!)

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I am also loving one of my Spicebush which actually died back a bit after last Winter but made a good comeback. Its yellow leaves like the sun rising above the Blue Spruce.

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I am always drawn to The Woodland Edge. There is so much going on in this section of the garden at all times. On its floor, Orchid Frost Lamium blooms well into the first few frosts. Wild Strawberry lights up the ground with its reddening leaves.

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I love this little Wood Sorrel – still blooming – in the planters on the log pedestals this year. It is only hardy to Z5 so I think I will store these containers in my cellar for the most brutal months of Winter after they go dormant.

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The Pagoda Dogwood Tree really took off this year. Once loaded with white blossoms, then the most beautiful dark berries, its leaves are now turning a deep burgundy.

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Persicaria Firetail still on fire among the yellowing leaves of Amsonias.

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I feel lucky to get a shot of these Winterberries – they are usually stripped clean by birds the minute they turn red (and orange – the orange not so much).

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Yeah, those berries are nice but I can’t get over the size of these crabapples out front! I just love these and they are beautiful this Autumn. This is the first time this tree has bore apples!

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The Potager seems to have the most blooms maybe because it has “gone wild” on me. I need to cut down many things, especially the Perilla and Garlic Chives, but it all looks so beautiful – why don’t I just wait for a really cold, miserable day? Ha ha, that’s the way. Surprising me, Nasturtium blooms!

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I love the dark green Lacinato Kale against the now toffee colored blooms of Perilla – looks like I’ll have plenty of Perilla next year, too. The wild grapes are yellowing on the fence.

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Lemon Tagetes still blooming.

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Now’s the time to eat this Chard!

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Borage, Calendula, Nasturtium – the staple of the flowers in my Potager.

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One of my favorite Nasturtiums ‘Moonlight’ from Renee’s Garden.

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A green bee taking refuge in a squash flower. I planted my squash late and then it was further stunted by a forest of Dill so it is still blooming and trying to produce.

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One of my favorite colors of the ‘Flashback Mix’ Calendula planted three or four years ago and not since. To say it reseeds is an understatement!

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Speaking of reseeders, Granpa Otts Morning Glory is still quite glorious!

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An example of that red Blueberry Autumn foliage one always reads about!

I think gardeners tend to forget how outstanding Oenothera is in the Autumn garden. I grow it in the Bird & Butterfly bed and around my Pin Oak.

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The leaves of the Pin Oak.

It seems that the Helianthus Microcephalus went to seed earlier this year. It is usually one of the last bloomers. Behind it, the blooms of Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’ in the Bird & Butterfly garden.

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This is why I end up with so many Black-eyed Susans because I cannot bear to chop them down. They look cool! And the birds love to eat their seeds and since I will be migrating myself, I will leave them up all Winter long to feed the birds.

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The leaves of (naughty) Amur Maple, an invasive small tree I cannot recommend planting but I have it anyway in my garden because it hitched a ride from our Maine home.

Another Dogwood – I love them. (The shrub in the foreground beginning of Hosta Row.) Remember this one? This is a story of perseverance. This was the Dogwood that was sawed down by the Dogwood Sawfly caterpillars. Look at him now! A complete comeback, amazing.

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That “rug” of green on the workshop/garage wall is Clematis Virginiana. All I can say is WOW.

A surprise, and thoroughly neglected, Petunia or maybe Viola. This container (also on a log pedestal) was planted in early Spring and I have not been good about watering it regularly throughout the entire Summer – or even checking on it. Maybe neglect is a successful gardening method?

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Heuchera ‘Pinot Blanco’ still blooming among a few yes, self seeded Calendulas, and a fading ‘Quickfire’ Hydrangea.

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The fading blossom of Snowball Hydrangea.

I am also surprised Obedient Plant is just about finished blooming – again, seems to have gone to seed earlier this year, but very colorfully.

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I was captivated by these furry tails of Liatris!

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But Solidago ‘Fireworks’ seems to be blooming right on time. One can always find some type of pollinator on Solidago, even at this time of year which is why Solidagos are so important.

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Instead of a throw away Mum, I opted for a New England Aster which I will plant out in the garden. I don’t seem to have luck with Asters but I keep adding them hoping one will “catch” other than the weedy little white flowered one which pops up everywhere in my garden.

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Wild Grapes on the front porch.

This year should be dubbed the year that containers didn’t die. A Gazania ‘Frosty Kiss’ blossom! among some added gourds to a container out front.

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I’ll leave you with hope for Spring: a Milkweed pod bursting in what I hope will be its new home along the Nice Driveway instead of in the middle of my entry way. I find it beautiful.

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Solidago Fireworks Attracts Fall Pollinators

I would like to add more goldenrods to my garden for fall pollinators and late season blooms. I planted a Little Lemon goldenrod last year but it did not make it so I will try it again (perhaps in a dryer location) because I really liked it. Common goldenrod volunteered in my garden this year and I am very pleased, but I will try seeding it in the places where I would rather have it be for next year. Prairie Moon Nursery offers a variety of native goldenrods for different conditions that I will also have to give a try.

Appreciatively, Solidago Fireworks has just bloomed in my garden – later than common godlenrod. I am not the only one who appreciates it. I captured this short video of the pollinators it has attracted. Many flies, wasps, bumble bees and what I believe to be a Yellow-collared Scape Moth. It is nice to see the fall garden so active.

Though I am not fond of the way its lower stems tend to brown and bare, I love the firework-like display of the blooms. It is very appropriately named! I am hoping the Liatris planted in front of it fills in to hide the lower stems a little more next year. I would still recommend this plant for the garden in spite of its bare ankles. It stays upright and does not flop. The blooms burst into golden rays and are beautiful in the way they “spray” in arcs – a very welcome sight this time of year, and it’s obviously a popular gathering spot for pollinators. I purchased my Solidago Fireworks plants from Bluestone Perennials in case you would like to add this pollinator-friendly-fall-bloomer to your garden as well.


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What’s Blooming

Rain was forecast for today so I took a couple shots last evening – the last rays of the sun were too good to miss. Today was as promised – overcast, rainy. Also, we had our first frost last night. But these poppies still look as fresh as they did last evening.

 The mysterious moon flower … I am not certain if this is a bloom in the making or a seed pod.

Even though it is in its first year, this Rudbeckia Maxima is sending out blooms – that’s twice this season. Solidago ‘Fireworks’ surrounds it – also in its first year.

It seems to be quite popular. This particular Solidago branch seems to appeal to wasp-like pollinators.

Whereas this one is claimed by the bees.

The plumes of this Indian Grass took me by surprise – another plant in its first year,  I didn’t expect it to bloom.

I swear I did not pinch, prune or pamper this Woods Aster out front, and look at it!

These annual (well, here anyway) Asters caught my eye and I chose them over Mums for the front porch this year.

The Cosmos just keep on going, and going, and going …

Marigolds light up the potager – well, those that managed to compete with the Nasturtium this year.

And for desert, chocolate Joe Pye. A real late blooming treat in the woodland edge border come fall.

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month. Visit Carol’s blog and add your blog to the growing list of what’s blooming.